Jacob Tucker – slam dunk champ

By Ryan Smith, Class of 2014

I recently read an article about a college athlete named Jacob Tucker who rose to fame from his many YouTube videos.  He was a student at Illinois College, a small college with a little over 1,000 students.   At 5’10” being able to dunk is no easy feat.  He has recorded a 50” vertical leap.  He participated in the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest on Final Four weekend.  But because he doesn’t play against the larger name universities such as Kentucky, Ohio State, or even Butler, according to author Stuart Feil, “…his candidacy needed a push.”   His YouTube videos display his outstanding hops and Jacob doing windmill, 360, and even jumping over a teammate to dunk the ball through the hoop. His video has almost 5 million views and this catapulted him into the contest.   Jacob took home the slam dunk trophy and he is now a part of the Harlem Globetrotters.   This article is a display of how hard work can get you anywhere and you’re never too small to reach your dreams.  

This article caught my eye not only because it is about basketball, but because I myself have seen many people quit chasing their dreams because they were “too small” or “not good enough.”   This article is a display of how a young college athlete didn’t listen to all of the criticism regarding his lack of height and continued to work hard to be the best he could be.   A 50” vertical leap takes years of work to gain. That’s a lot of leg presses, calf raises, and working on your legs. This relates to our class because our teacher (Mrs. Kirby) constantly preaches that we can achieve our dreams with a little hard work and dedication. This applies to my life because I try to work as hard as I possibly can to be the best basketball player and the best person I can be.

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